Guys I have an announcement..(prepare the drum-roll)… I’m going back to California for Christmas! That’s right, I’m spending Christmas up in the mountains of California surrounded by all of my uncles, aunts, my grandparents, my cousins and their children (would that make them my second cousins or just cousins, twice removed or am I just confused?). There is a lot of things I have to do before I go but I’m beyond excited. I’m ready to go back. I’m ready to see family, and finally ready to accept my in-between state; I live and understand/don’t understand two cultures.
Going back to the States is always slightly strange because it forcibly brings to focus the fact that I’m living in-between. Here on the blog, I am very open about living in-between cultures and I’ve wrote about this here and here. However if I’m honest, I don’t try to make a big deal about it when I’m in America or when I’m in Britain. I tell people in Britain that I’ve lived here for 13 years and am therefore mostly British. I remind Americans that I was born here. The very moment I speak, I gain attention. Americans are delighted at my preference for British slang and the slight accent and they demand that I speak more. The British are more tactful and ask if I’m Canadian or from Northern Ireland. I’m stuck in-between of who I was and who I’m becoming.
It’s not just the culture of a country that you can be stuck in. Sometimes it is the sub-culture, people you know and love and yet disagree with. I’ve learned though to blend in enough so that way I don’t stand out too much (too much attention). In certain areas of the church sub-culture, the worse thing I can do is to start talking about drinking alcohol and about Donald Trump. I have no problem telling my views but I’m learning that there are better ways to express them than to start an controversial topic in conversation just so I can shout out my views. In other areas of the church sub-culture, people are probably going to drink alcohol with me and complain about Trump. Different areas, different people, different cultures, and despite everything there is still that value called respect and tolerance. You attempt to blend in order to not offend them, but you end up shocking several of them. Different people and such a different culture.
But then even here in Britain, I keep on hearing of people travelling to America and they are worried. They are worried about Trump, about being a minority, and they laugh when I try to explain why so many people I know don’t drink and they are angry when I try to explain why they voted for Trump. Different areas, different people, different culture, I live here and I blend enough so I don’t offend them but I still shock them. Maybe I’ll always shock people. You got to embrace living in the in-between and this is how I’ve embraced it, by accepting that I will always surprise people.
There are worse ways to be known.